Thomas C. Platt

From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Thomas Collier “Tom” Platt
Thomas C. "Tom" Platt LOC picture.png
Former U.S. Senator from New York
From: March 4, 1897 – March 3, 1909
Predecessor David B. Hill
Successor Elihu Root
Former U.S. Senator from New York
From: March 4, 1881 – May 16, 1881
Predecessor Francis Kernan
Successor Warner Miller
Former U.S. Representative from New York's 27th Congressional District
From: March 4, 1875 – March 3, 1877
Predecessor Horace B. Smith
Successor Jeremiah W. Dwight
Former U.S. Representative from New York's 27th Congressional District
From: March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1875
Predecessor Horace B. Smith
Successor Elbridge G. Lapham
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Ellen Lucy Barstow
Religion Presbyterian[1]

Thomas Collier Platt (July 15, 1833 – March 6, 1910), also known as Tom Platt[2] and Easy Boss,[3] was a conservative Republican from New York who served as the state's U.S. senator for a very brief period in 1881, and later from 1897 to 1909. Platt was previously a two-term U.S. representative from the 27th and 28th congressional districts. He allied with the Stalwart faction which sought to maintain the spoils system[4] under Republican political control for the purpose of safeguarding the constitutional rights of freed blacks.[5]

Aligned with the party's Stalwart leader Roscoe Conkling,[3] Platt is remembered for his effort to rebuke Half-Breed President James A. Garfield to no avail. The Stalwart faction subsequently collapsed within several years.


Platt was born in Owego, New York, located in the southeastern portion of the state. His father was a lawyer,[3] and Platt entered Yale College after attending Owego Academy despite the former's disagreements,[6] though withdrew due to illness. Since 1852, Platt was also active in the pharmaceutical industry, establishing a drugstore that became a town center for political activity.[3]

For a period of time, Platt was the president of the Tioga National Bank.

During the American Civil War, Platt's illness prevented him from serving in the Union military, though raised money to support troops and actively urged support for the Lincoln Administration.[6]

Political career

Platt in his younger years.

Platt was early on a supporter of the newly established Republican Party, supporting and voting for nominee John C. Fremont in the 1856 presidential election.[6] From 1859 to 1861, Platt was the clerk of Tioga County, New York.

During the late 1860s, Platt served as the chairman of the Tioga Republican Party.[6]

U.S. House of Representatives

Stalwart Republicans



Other members:

Related topics:

Platt ran for and was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1872 from New York's 27th district, defeating Liberal Republican Milo Goodrich.[7] He was narrowly re-elected in the following 1874 midterms over Democrat opponent Edward F. Jones.[8]

In 1876, Platt declined to seek re-election to the House. During the same year in the concurrent presidential election, he joined the "Conkling for President" movement when he attended a Republican National Convention for the first time. A grateful and responsive Sen. Conkling in turn appointed Platt to become the GOP State Committee chairman.[6]

The appointment of William Robertson (pictured above) led to the resignations of Conkling and Platt.

Brief senatorial stint, 1881

In 1881, Platt ran for U.S. Senate from New York's Class I seat, handily obtaining the party nomination in a slate of six GOP candidates[9][10] and proceeding to win the general election against incumbent Democrat Francis Kernan.[11]

That year, President James Garfield appointed Half-Breed William H. Robertson to Collector of the Port of New York without the agreements of Platt and Conkling,[12] particularly enraging the latter due to breaking a traditional precedent of obtaining a home state senator's approval before appointing a political figure to a post in the respective state.[13] According to a colleague, Conkling:[14]

...raged and roared like a bull for three mortal hours.

Conkling subsequently devised a plan to rebuke President Garfield by having both senators resign from their seats and being re-elected to their same posts by the state legislature in the resulting special elections,[15] and managed to persuade Platt into it.[14] The plot resulted in failure when the Half-Breed controlled legislature did not do so, effectively outmaneuvering Conkling.[2]

Platt supports Half-Breed Blaine for president

During the 1884 presidential election, the Republican convention nominated Half-Breed leader James G. Blaine to lead the party ticket. This resulted in an intraparty schism, with a "Mugwump" faction refusing to support Blaine and instead backing Bourbon Democrat Grover Cleveland.

Although Platt had allied with the Stalwarts which fiercely opposed Blaine (who long had a personal rivalry with Conkling), he supported the nominee for the general election.[6] Blaine ultimately lost the race to Cleveland, which in part was attributed to the influence of Harper's Weekly Mugwump cartoonist Thomas Nast.

Return to the Senate, 1897–1909

In 1897, Platt ran for U.S. Senate from the Class III seat and won the party nomination,[16] proceeding to defeat incumbent Democrat David B. Hill by a landslide.[17] He was re-elected in 1903 to a second consecutive term.[18]

Holding what was described as an "undistinguished record," Platt caved into pressure from political reformers, and in 1898 helped elect future president Theodore Roosevelt Governor of New York.[3] Abandoning his Stalwart roots, he played a role in civil service reform and worked with Gov. Roosevelt on appointments, in addition to pushing for conservation programs.[3] Roosevelt was considerably more independent than Platt, who backed loyalist Benjamin B. Odell for governor while having the former run for vice president. Ultimately, Roosevelt became president upon the assassination of William McKinley, and Odell turned towards progressivism.[3]

Death and internment

Platt died in New York City on March 6, 1910, and blistering attacks on the style of machine politics which he was associated with became widespread.[3] He is interred at Evergreen Cemetery, located in his home town of Owego.


  1. Pittsford to Platzek. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 About the Vice President | Levi Parsons Morton, 22nd Vice President (1889-1893). United States Senate. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 June 11, 2018. Thomas Collier Platt. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  4. Civil Service Reform: Creating a Merit System for Pennsylvania. Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  5. Matthews, Dylan (July 20, 2016). Donald Trump and Chris Christie are reportedly planning to purge the civil service. Vox. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Platt, Thomas Collier, 1833-1910. Social Networks and Archival Context. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  7. NY District 27 Race - Nov 05, 1872. Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  8. NY District 28 Race - Nov 03, 1874. Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  9. NY US Senate - R Caucus Race - Jan 13, 1881. Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  10. January 14, 1881. Senator Thomas C. Platt Selected By The Caucus upon the First Ballot. The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  11. NY US Senate Race - Jan 18, 1881. Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  12. The administrations of James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur. Britannica. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  13. Stalwarts, Half Breeds, and Political Assassination. National Park Service. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Both New York Senators Resign. United States Senate. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  15. Political Cartoons of Thomas Nast. United States Senate. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  16. NY US Senate - R Caucus Race - Jan 14, 1897. Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  17. NY Us Senate Race - Jan 20, 1897. Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  18. NY US Senate Race - Jan 20, 1903. Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 14, 2021.

External links